Most important political events in American history?

Status
Not open for further replies.
Messages
1,113
Role
Other
So I was thinking about where the inauguration of Obama fits within the most important political events in American history. So I figured we could have a discussion about it. My list of the top is:

1: The inauguration of John Adams. The first peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next.

2: The ratification of the Constitution.

3: The inauguration of George Washington as the first President under the Constitution.

4: The US Civil War. While you may not consider it a political event, it proved that the Federal Government was more important than individual States, ended slavery, and a few other things. This includes Amendments 13 and 15.

5: Amendment 19. Women's Suffrage.

6: The inauguration of Obama, later today.

7: The first woman Governor, Senator, and Representative.

8: The first minority Governor, Senator and Representative.

9: The resignation of President Nixon.

10 The inauguration of John Tyler, he filled William Harrison's term after Harrison's death.
 
Messages
3,353
Role
Private
10 The inauguration of John Tyler, he filled William Harrison's term after Harrison's death.
Indeed. He did without a VP and without the initial support of his (Harrison's) cabinet.

I'll have to think on this a bit and put some facts together. Good topic.
 

Dawes

Est. Contributor
Messages
1,805
Role
Diaper Lover
This really is a great topic, Valentine!

I concur with the list you have there. Because I think people know I'm obsessed with them, I think the time-period in which The Federalist was written also ranks up there with America's top political events. Between The Federalist and the anti-Federalist papers that were being written at the time (which are just as significant as a body of political work, but lesser known), the party system was beginning to rear its head in American politics. People were vouching for different angles of thought for different sides. They began affiliating themselves with prescribed lines of political thought. The Federalist is an absolutely brilliant piece of work, and while it is heavy reading, serves as a detailed thesis on just how many of our forefathers intended the politics of the country to function. It's almost insane to see just how much they anticipated.

I think that a lot of political events are also extremely significant social ones. Lincoln's delivery of the Emancipation Proclomation, for example, set forth a new era of mentality. While it did not exactly usher in the equality between races that was intended (because I don't believe it was until the Civil Rights movement that political and social equality between whites and blacks was ever actually realized), it kicked off what would be a turbulent but symbolic century for how our country's social (and thus political) hierarchy worked.

A great, great thread, Valentine -- a great reminder and an awesome chance to learn more, too!
 

MysteriousVisitor

Est. Contributor
Messages
1,214
Role
Diaper Lover
I would put the Supreme court case Marbury v. Madison in there. Without that case, and the decision made by the court, it never has the power of judicial review. Without judicial review, we dont have the cases that make the Supreme Court the true 3rd branch. If Madison doesn't come up, or is decided in another way, the Supreme Court could very well have become a plainly ceremonial bench.
 

Dark Bringer

Est. Contributor
Messages
572
Role
Diaper Lover
I don't think Obama's inauguration is that significant. Not yet. I don't think you can determine such a thing until after a president has been in office for a time. And I think too much is made of innagurations anyways.
On the other hand, not that many people were interested in the 2000 election but it turned out to be very significant because of September 11 and the following years.
And the unpopularity of Bush probably helped Obama win the presidency, he would have had a more difficult time if the nation was not so fed up with everything and as intrigued by a new guy.
 

bdb2004

Est. Contributor
Messages
272
Role
Other
To add a few more,
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, as it launched our entry into WW2, which helped secure America's position in the world both as an economic and military power, and, in doing so, helped shape the politics of at least the next 70 years.

Also, related to WW2, would be the development of the atomic bomb, which while more scientific initially, the role it played in ending the Second World War, and then throughout the Cold War clearly turned it into a political instrument.

I guess to stay chronological, I will say the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, which ended an era, and prompted some to declare, in the words of Francis Fukuyama, a political philosopher,
What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.
While, looking back, we can see that this didn't exactly work out, the fact that respected individuals were even saying this indicates its huge political impact.

Tentatively I will put September 11th, 2001 down as it has played a major role, both directly and indirectly, in every election sense, and changed the way we approached terrorism as a country, though the importance of this still has the potential to change over the coming years.

As far as Obama's Inauguration, I would say just the fact that we are inaugurating the first bi-racial, African American President makes it worthy of the list, and while his actions in office have the potential to make his administration even more significant, his place in history is secured through his ethnic heritage.
 
Messages
2,147
Role
Diaper Lover
Question about the Obama. Blacks and Whites are supposedly equal correct? Then why does he get special treatment, the first?
 
Messages
1,421
Role
Diaper Lover, Babyfur, Carer, Other
Question about the Obama. Blacks and Whites are supposedly equal correct? Then why does he get special treatment, the first?
I love you, have my babies.

I've been saying this all day to people at my school....not a good idea when most of your school are either A) Rich kids who want to, or did vote for him because it was the cool thing to do, or B) "Ghetto" kids who want to or did vote for him due to his skin color(I've asked around, so no it's not a generalization).

I'm already not that popular, but bringing up the fact that what they were doing was inherently racist made them look at me like a heathen who needed to be burned at the stake.
 
Messages
2,147
Role
Diaper Lover
That goes along with what I said on the Obama thread, if you are for or against him, your main reason being race, you shouldn't be allowed to have an opinion.
 

Maverick

Est. Contributor
Messages
1,766
Role
Other
Question about the Obama. Blacks and Whites are supposedly equal correct? Then why does he get special treatment, the first?
Because about 150 years ago, African-Americans were fighting for their freedom. They still weren't equal to whites just 60 years ago. Looking at America's past, it's remarkable that an African-American man was elected president.
 
F

FullMetal

Guest
I don't know how on topic this is but it is my fair assumption that, for this generation:

Your kids will be asking you two things, granted you are an American:

Where were you when the Twin Towers got hit

And

Who did you vote for in the 2008 election

I mean, you can read history all you want, but there is nothing like living through it.

FullMetal
 

dogboy

Est. Contributor
Messages
20,832
Role
Adult Baby, Diaper Lover
Conversely, Brown v the Board of Education, putting an end to segregation in the schools. I was one of the demonstrators in the late 60s trying to bring equality to all people, particularly in our schools. There were times I feared for my safety. None of us can be free, if there is one segment of society that is not free.

There are black eyes to our government as well. One would be President Jackson's policies on the treatment of native Americans, and the trail of tears. I wonder how different our country would have been if we had to share the land with those who were here first?

I saw the footage of Jack Kennedy's assassination as it was happening. I was 14 and home with a broken leg. I was terrified as I wondered what would happen to our country, and who was responsible. I remember watching on television as the caisson with the presidents body was pulled by horses I think, followed by the riderless horse, and little John Kennedy saluting his father. Nothing was sadder. Many years later it saddened me when John John was killed in the airplane crash. I guess it's a testament to the strength of our constitution, and the wisdom of our founding fathers that the nation was still strong, and acted in a responsible way to continue with stability.
 

BabyMullet

Est. Contributor
Messages
859
Role
Diaper Lover, Carer
I would add the whole freaking 60's to that mix somewhere, be it the protesters protesting, MLK with I have a dream. The whole 60's seemed politically romantic time to be a citizen really, then again, I missed all of it.

I feel like adding more to the list...time to read some more Zinn.
 

Eulogy

ADISC Moderator
Staff
Messages
1,483
Role
Adult Baby, Babyfur
The creation of the Patriot Act. A bill that basically crapped on the bill of rights. Form your own opinions about it though.

Edit: I'll rephrase to sound less confrontational, The Patriot Act. A Bill that merely made it possible to crap on the bill of rights.
 

Aidy

Est. Contributor
Messages
334
Role
Adult Baby, Little, Carer
Well, it's yetto be seen if Obama becoming president is going to be important. Just because he can talk and has been elected doesn't mean he'll do anything of significance. Just because he wants to do so doesn't mean the monster that is politics will allow him to do so.
 
Messages
1,113
Role
Other
In my list I did not include what the Presidents did after their inaugurations, only that their inaugurations were important.

The first President.
The second President. (The first time that power passed peacefully from one leader to another.)
The first Vice President to take office after the President died, confirming the passage of power.
The first minority President, it would not really matter if it had been an Asian American, woman, Native American, Hispanic, etc. It is that it was a minority and ceiling has been broken.

This had nothing to do with whether or not they were good, bad, or indifferent in their Presidencies, only that they were important to the politics of the US.

And while I think that Obama's inauguration is one of the most important political events in US history, I think that the way it has been handled is horrible.
 

SteveC1981

Contributor
Messages
126
Role
, Other, Private
I think in the wider scope of things, Obama's inauguration will not be as important so much as his accomplishments in office (in 4 years, he will do something, for better or worse), for that is what he will ultimately be judged by. That is how the other 42 men (yes, 42 men have been president 43 different times) have been judged, so it should be no different for him.

Other significant events (not quite rankable) include:
  • Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
    Oddly, the successor of Abraham Lincoln was the only VP to be of a different party than his running mate (the elections were different in 1864). Anyways, I listed this because he was kept in office by a single vote; yet we think our single vote won't make a difference?
  • Impeachment of Bill Clinton
    Unlike Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton remained in office by a much wider margin than one vote. On the other hand, this shows that in politics, the ugly details of personal lives might be up for grabs, no matter how inappropriate or whether or not it is really relevant.
  • George W. Bush selecting Dick Cheney as Vice President
    As the Constitution provides, a President who is removed from office is succeeded by the Vice-President. President Bush, aware of the media circus of the Monica Lewinsky scandal (and how it started as something else), made himself "un-impeachable" to a Democratic Congress by making Dick Cheney his VP. Spinning it another way, it could also be said he was protecting the integrity of the office by doing so (as the Clinton case proved the burden for impeachment is vague by today's standards)
  • Jimmy Carter's 1980 Election Defeat
    Other than the assassinated John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter was the first elected president (Jerry Ford was appointed VP in 1973, so he was not formally elected) not to be re-elected since Herbert Hoover was defeated in 1932. At the end of their final debate, Ronald Reagan introduced a phrase that is still used in politics, in some forms, today: "Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Four Years Ago?" Most people said no.
 

Fire2box

Est. Contributor
Messages
10,934
Role
Adult Baby, Diaper Lover
The creation of the Patriot Act. A bill that basically crapped on the bill of rights. Form your own opinions about it though.

Edit: I'll rephrase to sound less confrontational, The Patriot Act. A Bill that merely made it possible to crap on the bill of rights.
Nice backpedal there, great job. :p
 

Zekk

Est. Contributor
Messages
560
Role
Diaper Lover, Sissy
IMHO.....2 events overshadow all...

1.) Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia (1781).
2.) Surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse (1865).

Without those 2 historical events there wouldn't be a USA we know it today.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top